China builds, upgrades 59,000 km of roads in poor areas
By Liu Zhiqiang, Gao Yuncai, People’s Daily
China has steadfastly advanced its transport since 2012 as a way to shatter the bottleneck restraining rural development and contribute to its poverty alleviation efforts since 2012.
The country has built or upgraded 59,000 kilometers of roads serving resource transport, tourism and business development in poor areas, offering a solid guarantee for farmers to get rid of poverty.
As of September last year, all towns, townships and administrative villages with feasible conditions had been connected to asphalt and concrete roads, and bus services. The state also subsidized the upgrading of 17,000 kilometers of national expressways and 53,000 kilometers of national highways. By now, almost all county seats in poor areas have access to highways of Grade II or above.
“My fellow villagers all started businesses after a road were built around my village, and I have to work harder to expand my poultry business,” said Yang Xiaoyan, a resident from Pingzhai village, Ziyun Miao and Buyei Autonomous County, southwest China’s Guizhou Province. A rewinding mountain road has for the first time connected the village to the outside world.
The transport progress has enhanced the “blood making” capacity of poor areas. For instance, Shiquan County, situated in the Qinling-Bashan Mountains in Ankang, northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, has been working to improve its transportation over the recent years. It has built 1,186 kilometers of roads for business development and 352 bridges. The enhanced transportation led to rapid development of local agriculture. Now the county is home to 11,000 mu (733 hectares) of day lilies and 75,000 mu of silkworm breeding fields.
Besides, the transport progress is also creating massive jobs for poor residents. In recent years, local transport departments across China have offered various public service jobs weighted towards poor residents, such as road construction and maintenance, as well as express delivery.
As of August the last year, China had offered 668,000 rural jobs related to roads, including 270,000 for public service, benefiting more than 370,000 registered impoverished residents.
What comes together with the rural transportation progress is also thriving rural tourism. In Xuanhe Township, Liancheng County, southeast China’s Fujian Province, nice and neat courtyards in ancient Chinese styles are attracting huge numbers of tourists coming for the county’s specialty – dried sweet potato slices. “The convenient transportation has brought us both popularity and wealth,” said Wu Zaiyang, Party chief of the county’s Peitian village.
The smooth roads have led to efficient and two-way circulation of personnel, commodities, capital and information between rural and urban areas. In 2020, the number of express packages delivered to and from rural areas surpassed 30 billion, and the exchange of industrial products and farm produce between urban and rural areas totaled 1.5 trillion yuan ($232 billion).
In recent years, integrated road passenger transport in urban and rural areas has made progress. A passenger transport network with county seats as centers, towns and townships as junctions, and administrative villages as points has taken shape.
Years ago, students from Longxi village, Xianxia Township, Yudu County, east China’s Jiangxi Province had to cross mountains to go to school. “After a 1.2-kilometer road was built, the students finally have a safe road to go on,” said Zhu Senlin, principal of the Longxi primary school. Thanks to the improvement in both hardware and software, the school has been recruiting more and more students in recent years.
“We had to walk a long way carrying our parents on our backs to get to the township hospital once they got sick in the old days. Now it’s more convenient with the roads built, and it takes only a dozen minutes if we ride a motorcycle,” said Liang Shaofeng, a resident from Wukou village, Guizhou province.
According to an official with the Ministry of Transport, China will keep enhancing its road construction in rural areas and build more roads to connect villages and even households, so as to effectively align its poverty alleviation achievements with rural revitalization.